Mădălina Calance Alexandru Ioan Cuza University of Iași Abstract: Considering the process of integration and the enlargement of the European Union, the continent's political map changed significantly during the last decades. For most of the European nations, facing the integration is going on the path of the economic and social improvement, which also involves important aspects about the nation-state (national identity, nationalism). This paper will focus on the meanings and the dimensions of contemporary nationalism and will later look at the impact of the nationalist ideas in the EU, in times of recession. The study found out that there are many perspectives of the EU challenging national economies and the state sovereignty but, at the same time, people are aware the imminence of the European identity in their economic and cultural future. Keywords: nationalism, national identity, European identity, immigration, populist parties JEL Classification: F15, F52, F59


In the European history, the idea of nationalism has very deep roots. The nationalist ideology is a chameleon over time, being adapted to the prerogatives of a certain nation, the theoretical interpretations of a historical period or to specific political circumstances. Certainly, nationalism is one of the major phenomenons of the last two centuries, whose expression is a reflection of multiplying the nation-states from a dozen (mostly in Europe) to thousands. This increase demonstrates the strength of the principle of self-determination, which proclaims the right of people and nations to establish their own course of political, economic, cultural and social development, without outside interventions. Under the aegis of globalization, important economic and political changes are occurring throughout the world, due to the activity of multinational or transnational corporations, interstate economic organizations or supranational organizations (such as the European Union), with a major impact on the sovereignty of the national state, considered to be more powerless in solving global problems such as: monetary policy, security, the regulation of commercial activities, etc. The new shape of world politics is emerging the idea of the state losing sovereignty in favour of higher political entities. There are many aspects of the European Union challenging national sovereignty. This fact is feeding the nationalist and populist criticism and is shaping a resistance phenomenon. Therefore, we can notice an antagonistic relationship between nationalists, focusing on the set of

CES Wo rking Papers, IV, (1), 2012


at a global level.3) * www. [… ] Sometimes nationality was taken as a basis of federation of States. 1. the general tendency was towards welding into large strong national unities the loosely related states and provinces with shifting attachments and alliances that covered large areas. Furthermore. a sociological or psychological perspective. In both. This view tends to be anachronistic in the context of a galloping XXI st century globalization. Norway and Sweden. not only economical. In varietate concordia). The national identity is now facing especially the contact with other national m CES Wo rking Papers. Inevitably. Otherwise. The European Union understood this imperative. nationalism is a doctrine that differentiates the individuals in their nationality. the new political system created the dilemma of nationstate. sometimes took a disruptive form […] or sometimes it was a unifying or a centralising force. 2012 25 . (1).” (p. Nationalism was the most successful political force of the XIXth century. and the Swiss Federation.Hungary. enlarging the area of nationality. financial and international migration. According to the English economist John A. On the other hand. in external politics. or establishment of political union on a basis of nationality. by facilitating trade flows. but socially as well. making for federal union of diverse nationalities. as in United Germany and in North America. which supports the reinforcement of national identies. It is true that the forces making for political union sometimes went further. the socio-cultural interconnectivity leads to the emergence of nationalist ideas that are either justified or exaggerated. which reveals the possibility of higher authorities to manage and enforce rules and judgments directly to the national structures. However.britannica. the approach of a unified society is paradoxically emphasizing notions as "difference". was a dominant factor alike in dynastic movements and as an inner motive in the life of masses of population. integration seems to dissipate the political borders of nation-states. "identity" or "independence". Hobson (2005) during the nineteenth century ’’ the struggle towards nationalism. they always feel the need for distinction.interests and aspirations of a nation and supra nationalism . Whether individuals are single or organized in communities. as in the cases of Austro. IV. and therefore adopted the motto”Unity in diversity” (lat. That struggle. THE PAST AND PRESENT OF EUROPEAN NATIONALISM An Encyclopaedia Britannica * overview submits that nationalism is an ideology based on the premise that the individual’s loyalty and devotion to the nation-state surpass other individual or group interests.

xenophobia refers to the fear of anything alien (including people. Cas Mudde (2004 a) studies the issue of populist parties and defines them as „political parties that share an ideology which combine features as: nationalism. authoritarianism. so the EU institutions (the European Court of Justice. seeking to redefine the principles of states and the national identity against the supranational institutions. Many voices. These parties have managed to legitimize policies by nationalist and protectionist approach. authoritarianism denotes a strict belief in law and order (yet not necessarily an antidemocratic attitude). At the end of the century. The Second World War ends with the communist regimes takeover. ideas. (1). the economic recession proves once again that the emergence of nationalism is a condition. With the European Union. CES Wo rking Papers.national character of the Union requires that all member states should surrender a part of their sovereignty by correlating the legislation and applying the directives of the European institutions. habits). and which argues that politics should be an expression of the volonté générale (general will) of the people” (Mudde 2004 b. In times of austerity. According to Riva Kastoryano (2010). 2012 26 . the nationalist ideas and the future of national economies. nationalism is a major challenge for the EU by raising the issue of minorities. from the academic or the political field. are putting into question the power of the nation state. The same author claims that” nationalism entails a polit ical doctrine arguing the convergence of state (the political unit) and nation (the cultural unit). identity and diversity and questioning the Union’s capacity to lead the states beyond their features. as well. the collapse of communism and the European Union enlargement were succeeded by the removal of anti-democratic aspects.In middle of the XXth century the European nationalism loses its original meaning becoming more aggressive. IV. On the other hand. p. especially in countries with dictatorial (fascist) regime. by promoting chauvinism. the nationalism being transformed in empathy for the national working class and xenophobia for the capitalist side. fed by growing nationalist resentments of citizens or immigrants. racism and xenophobia. Supranational is normative. the far-right parties are rising in Europe. and populism refers to an ideology that considers society ultimately separated into two homogeneous and antagonistic ’pure people’ versus ’the corrupt elite’. the national boundaries are redrawn. This creates a reaction from the far-right parties. the European Court of Human Rights or the Commission) impose standards on states. 543).4). xenophobia. to please the people of Europe. or populism” (p. The supra.

the European Constitutional Treaty brings the obligation to respect the national identities and the fundamental political and constitutional structures of the Member States * . Slovak Republic. Great Britain. Spain.1 Protecting national identity On a late 90’s survey† initiated by The European Values Study questioning the opinion on the European Union. law. Anthony Smith (1991) sees national identity as the most fundamental and inclusive of all collective identities (class. Swit zerland. Therefore. of the validity of a system of states in each region and Republic of Macedonia. Croatia. 2012 27 . Northern Ireland. Poland. A zerbaijan. Belarus. Also. Iceland. historical or ethnic references. have become the only recognized source of ‘inter. Czech Republic. statistics show that the feelings of belonging to EU are tending to be very similar in nature to the way citizens are proud of their nationality. NATIONAL AND EUROPEAN IDENTITY The meaning of national identity is based on the concept of nation-state (as its founding principle) that relies on cultural. Portugal. Kosovo. as well as in language. Serbia. and ultimately in the world as a whole. Russia. race. Malta. The nation may also be seen as the basic unit of moral economy. For Smith. ethnic or historical backgrounds. 144). 2.national legitimacy’. etc. Slovenia. France. many people believed that EU was an organism able to protect national identity. Den mark. IV. by commanding the basic political allegiance of citizens. Northern Cyprus.htm Research aria: A lbania. Lithuania. Fin land. values and memories. Estonia. national identity is revealed in a whole range of assumptions and myths. Otherwise.2. Belgiu m. * † http://europa. (1). Hungary. Bosnia -Herzegovina. the nation-states and the national identity are fundamental dimensions of the modern world. Bulgaria. He claims that ”in the cultural sphere. Sweden. Ukraine. Armen ia. Georg ia. Socially. Greece. Lu xembourg. The Netherlands. the approaches of national identity are configured on cultural. the generally accepted boundary within which intercourse normally takes place and the limit for distinguishing the ’outsider’. Germany (East/West). Republic of Moldova.” (p. in terms of both territory and of resources and skills” (p. Regarding the relations between the Union and the Member States. Norway. Republic of Montenegro. gender. institutions and ceremonies. ”the nation and the national identity. the national bond provides the most inclusive community. CES Wo rking Papers. Cyprus. Ro mania.). Ireland. Italy. Smith (1991) speaks about national identity in political terms as determining the co mposition of the regime ’s personnel and legitimating the policy goals and administrative practices for every citizen. Austria. Turkey. religion. 144) . Latvia. because of their omnipresence and universality.

CES Wo rking Papers. Their national economic interests would also be sacrificed. only a truly united Europe could protect its states national.For them. (1). the unemployment or the immigration.gesis. the percentage of people who answered they were ” very much afraid” of loosing national culture or identity almost equals the percentage of negative answers. If ten years before some people may have had fears about the consequences of the European Union openness. As we can see in Figure 2. Few people were thinking that unifying the European states would mean the end of their national. IV. historical and cultural identities. historical and cultural identities and their national economic interests from the challenges of the In 2008. As we can see in Figure 1. due to important factors such as the global crisis. the frequency of sceptical views has increased considerably. the fear of loosing national identity was more intense. in times of recession. there is a greater percentage of the answers favouring the idea of European Union as protective for the national identity (about 75 %): Figure 1 – Opinion on European Union: National Identity (1990-1999) Source: Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences (http://zacat. of people saying they are ”not afraid of all” (17%). 2012 28 .

gesis. it offers the opportunity for business to expand and for millions of people to have better jobs. the state and the ethnic identities operate and interact in a larger.2 Immigration Immigration affects the national economic system and always represented an important social problem. The European nationalism of the XIXth century was an unifying force which brought together people of diverse backgrounds at the price of subordinating their ethnic identities to the larger territorial unit dominated by the secular state (Pamir. IV. (1). 2005). because the mobility of individuals comes with the external migration phenomenon. common space. In response to xenophobia of the host population the immigrants could preserve their national identity and CES Wo rking Papers. higher incomes or just a better lifestyle.Figure 2 – Fear of loosing national identity (2008) Source: Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences (http://zacat. 2012 29 . With the dissipation of borders induced by increased international collaboration and the influx of labor force in the European market. At the same time we are facing a negative phenomenon. the international migration flows can be considered by the host population as a threat to the national identity and can cause nationalist reactions of rejection. Furthermore. with the EU consolidation. 2.

Instead of a uniform European society. there is a rare situation when a state administers a homogeneous community. being a challenge for cultural heritage of nations.maintain strong links with the original community. Thus. and only few disagree with this assumptions. A similar percentage sees the future of society affected by the proportion of immigrants. In fact. and migration continues to erode faith in the nation-state. as a result of integration. even within nation-states. IV. Figure 3 – EU citizens opinion on immigrants taking their jobs Source: Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences (http://zacat. as well. we are witnessing an increasing diversity inside the national space. Therefore.gesis. 2012 30 . the evolution of multicultural states is a major threat to nationalist ideology.g. penetration and mixture of individuals from different cultura l backgrounds other than the reference country are leading to the development of multicultural communities. many people are considering that immigrants take jobs away from natives in a country and will become a threat to society. CES Wo rking About 40% of respondents asked in the survey belived that immigrants are causing damages on the national labor market. As we can see in the below charts (figures 3 and 4). the Hungarians in Transylvania). nationalism finds expression inside the communities living within nationstates and aspires to autonomy or their own state constitution (e. In Europe. (1).

in Finland. The Dutch Freedom Party and the Danish People's Party. 2012 31 . the job losses. Moreover. the negative ”domino” effects of globalization.immigrant parties in 2. They represent the voice of citizens. Denmark. which is eurosceptic CES Wo rking Papers. We have the example of the ’29. The current global recession hit hard the Euro Zone. exceeding 10 % (figure 5). Hungary. challenging the economy and the common currency. BBC News Europe also indicates a resurgence of nationalism in Europe by recording the electoral results for some of the most successful nationalist/ anti.Figure 4 – EU citizens opinion on immigrants representing a social threat Source: Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences (http://zacat. Italy. In Finland. IV. xenophobic. The France National Front (FN).gesis.’33 crisis that paved the way for Hitler or Mussolini’s nationalist governments. the Netherlands.3 The nationalist parties The political and economic history of Europe shows us that the economic recession leads to the emergence of nationalism and enhances the credibility of nationalist governments. the dependence on powerful supranational bodies are often causing discontents and emerging nationalist ideas. the inequality and poverty in developing countries. True Finns party. (1). Sweden. the instability. France or Belgium the rise of populist. that are expressed mostly through the voice of nationalist or populist parties. Austria. which are anti-Islamist. Europhobic parties are challenging the European democracy. which are disrupted by the globalization. or immigration.

Figure 5 – Average votes for nationalist parties in the last 3 general elections Source: www. etc. and that their national identities should be protected. which would grant Hungarian citizenship to ethnic Hungarians outside its borders and m) CES Wo rking Papers.stratfor. Bulgaria is fighting * The world's leading private intelligence firm (www. offensive or defensive nationalism are a source of tension between neighbor states. the ongoing economic crisis ”has corroborated much of that which they advocate: those immigration policies should be reformed. 2012 32 . in the past 3 years.and a strong opponent of the immigration.” In central Europe. (1). IV.. seeking to complete the Romanian territory. such as Hungary.starfor. they all have great political influence by achieving trust and votes from the electorate. that the European integration process should be reverted. in the minds of many nationalist parties in m According to a STRATFOR * (2011) study.

New York: Cosimo Inc. restoring industrial and trade policies by making them more offensive could abolish criticisms against the economic openness of the EU. Leibniz Institute for the Social is expressed by targeting immigration. involving their habits and lifestyles. available at http://www. available on BBC News Europe. acessed on February 2012 at: http://zacat.3. Hobson. Mudde. CES Wo rking Papers. (2005) Imperialism: A Not all these nationalist issues will withdraw in the near future. Once again.4-27. The fact that EU states shared their sovereignty is a source of ambiguity. CERC Working REFERENCES Europe: Nationalist resurgence (2011).uk/news/world-europe-13115454. This is why the European democracy is often helpless in front of the simplistic populist thinking. Economic and cultural international relations will always be affected by the differences between people. the European model of society can defend itself and protect the national identity. CONCLUSIONS Nationalism is made in Europe. Islam or multiculturalism for strengthening the borders that define the national identity. Of course. (n. (1). and rejection of the other. in times of massive immigration and crisis. (2004 a) Globalization: The multi-faced enemy?. No.britannica. A. H. accessed on February 2012 at: http:/www.d) Nationalism . the historical experience of all European nations tells us that its story will never end. providing tensions. as well. far from defining the territorial boundaries of states. intolerance. the acceptance of immigration may be assured by a more active integration policy. 2012 33 . Only by assuming and highly asserting its own values. A degeneration of the situation is a major threat for the already fragile European populations.against Muslim Turkish and Roma minorities. C. Today’s nationalism. In Great social and economic processes like the integration or the globalization can find a serious opponent in extreme nationalism. pp. Each of these problems finds support in the progressive nationalist speeches of the populist parties. paradox and nationalist extremes. Kohn. IV. Europe encountered the resurgence of nationalism.

accessed on February 2012 at: RCH_30J&objet_id=1139219. vol.Mudde. 2012 34 . pp 542-563. The founding principles of the IV. No.htm. (1991) National Identitity. (1997) CES Wo rking (2010) L'Europe face aux nationalismes. Pamir.lemonde. D. 2. post originally appeared at Stratfor. www. Oxford: Government& Opposition. Reno. (1). The official website of the European Union. Kastoryano. accessed on February 2012 at http://www. 3. accessed on February 2012 at http://europa. no. The International Journal of Peace 08/europe/30372377_1_european-union-european. (2004 b) The Populist Zeitgeist . C. The European Crisis Is Feeding Support for Nationalist Political Parties. 2. Smith. Ethnicity and Democracy: Contemporary Manifestations .gmu. accessed on February 2012 at: http://articles. A.businessinsider. Nevada: University of Nevada Press.html. R.

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